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OK, time for my first Bad Company 2 Vietnam story! This one charts the story of a platoon of American SEALs pushing through the napalm-burned landscape of Hill 137, also known as Hamburger Hill.
- The name Hamburger Hill comes from the ending cutscene of a US loss on Hill 137.
- This is no way related to the real Battle of Hamburger Hill
- I chose the SEALs because of the ability for them to swim up towards the hill, and to allow a bit more of a story-line to the endless activity of battle.
- For ranking purposes, i've used US Army rankings due to the confusing nature of Navy SEAL organization
SEAL Squad Alpha
- Sergeant Bill Donalds
- Corporal Homer Sharps
- Private James Dwyer
- Private Joe Keegan
SEAL Squad Baker
- Sergeant George Lynch
- Corporal Matt Thomas
- Private Oliver Wood
- Private James "Dewz" Dewhurst
SEAL Squad Cougar
- Staff Sergeant Tim Dempsey
- Corporal Richard "Dick" Hurst
- Private Walter Thompson
- Private Will Turner
PBR Squadron 195, "The Piranhas
- Petty Officer 1st Class Graves (CO, Boat 1)
- Petty Officer 2nd Class Marlen (CO, Boat 2)
- Petty Officer 2nd Class Davidson (CO, Boat 3)
Chapter 1 - Approach
Staff Sergeant Tim Dempsey watched over the calm tropical waters as the PBRs silently moved into the staging area. Already, F-4s streaked overhead on combat patrols, ready to engage any lingering VPAF MiGs that plagued the skies above the province, and B-52 bombers began their attack runs on NVA positions in the far off hills. The boats of Squadron 195, affectionately known as "The Piranhas", lay low in the water, the weight of the battle-ready SEALs lowering the boats' outline, ready to disgorge their cargo. Two bursts of static sounded in the radio beside him. Squad Baker was ready. Another burst. Alpha too. Dempsey checked on his own team, Squad Cougar. Carrying much of the team's heavy gear, the 4 men of Cougar were in camouflaged "Boonie-suits", toned to match the colour of the surrounding rainforests.
"All squads, this is Dempsey. Go for movement." The quiet splash of the SEALs of Alpha and Baker squads entering the water was barely audible over the roar of turbo-jets from the patrolling Phantoms. Eight black shapes materialised in the water, eight trained SEALs approaching the sides of a dangerous river. The NVA was about to feel the full power of a US assault, thought Dempsey, motioning to the boat's driver. "PO Graves, take us in."
* * *
Sergeant Donalds made quick pace through the murky water, keeping both hands on the waterproof container housing his much-loved M16. Motioning with his feet for his team to follow, the SEAL turned quickly towards the shore, letting loose the container just before he hit the sandy ledge at the edge of the river. Scouting the trees for NVA patrols, he pulled himself out of the water, dragging his weapon continer alongside him, pulling on the straps of his snorkel and face-mask with his free hand. No need for them now, he thought, as the tropical sun started to dry out his camouflaged wetsuit. Three other men pulled themselves out of the water, bringing their weapons with them. Sharps, his trusty Corporal-come-grenadier, Keegan, the squad's rookie medic and heavy weapon trooper, and Dwyer, a veteran engineer carrying a worn-down Thompson submachine gun.
"We're ready to go Sarge. Objective 1's to the north, around 50 metres," whispered Sharps, cradling his M14 in both hands.
"Right. We wait for Baker to squawk in, then we move." As if on cue, a double burst of static filled the air, indicating that Baker was ready to move. Donalds replied with another, single burst. Dempsey, back in the PBRs, gave the codeword to advance.
"Let's go. Quietly," whispered Sharps to the two privates. As a group, the four SEALs began their advance up the mountain-side, but soon found themselves forced into a U-shaped gulley. "Too quiet," whispered Keegan.
"Sarge, it's too quiet."
The last work in Keegan's sentence seemed to act as a catalyst for a huge chain reaction. From all sides a war-cry was raised, drowning out the roar of the Phantoms and the engine tones from the now-mobile PBRs.
"AMBUSH! Get to cover!" screamed Donalds. Keegan and Sharps dived into the grass, bringing their weapons to bear on the NVA soldiers. Dwyer dived down the hill, landing square in the centre of a doughnut-shaped rock, Thompson up and ready. Donalds had scrambled to the sides of the gulley, M16 snapping off shots at visible figures further up the mountain. Tracers whizzed around the sky, slamming into rocks and compacted soil. A trio of grenades clattered down from above, detonating simultaneously and sending red-hot shrapnel flying into the sides of the gulley. The thrower had jumped up to toss the improvised device, and Donalds cut him down with a burst of accurate fire from his M16. Sharps was firing single shots towards the ambushing NVA soldiers, Dwyer was sending unneccesary amounts of fire into the trees, but Keegan...
His weapon had jammed.
"SHIT! Sarge! It's jammed!" screamed the young SEAL. Raising himself from the ground, Keegan frantically tried to find the jam, tearing open the cover on his XM22. A single bullet had cracked in two, and had blocked the weapon from firing. But before Keegan could remove the bullet and reload, a single, fatal sniper shot rang out from the trees. The shot smashed Keegan's XM22 apart, sending parts of the gun flying into his unprotected face. A second shot lanced into the top of his helmet, the skull punctured in a welter of blood. Keegan slumped forward, blood streaming down his neck and face, hitting the ground with a crack of bone.
"KEEGAN! MAN DOWN!"
* * *
"Say again, Alpha-1, and calm down! Radio's got too much interference."
"Keegan's been hit. KIA. Charlie's got snipers in the trees."
"We hear. Piranha-3's moving in for a gunnery pass on target. Keep down." The PBR's engine roared as the propellor began pushing the armoured boat into a position to support the suppressed SEALs. Petty Officer Davidson ducked as a stray round hit the roof of the boat, signalling to the bow gunner to engage the snipers. The front machine-guns roared into life, sending tracer fire ripping into the tree-tops and suppressing the elusive sharpshooters. Almost immediately, a trio of RPGs flew out from a covered position, slamming into the waves inches in front of the boat. "Stern gunner, knock out those RPGs as soon as you can. We need to keep them off our backs while we make the gunnery pass." The rear .30 cal spat out a trail of fire at the RPG soldiers, shredding bushes, cloth and flesh alike. The front gunner added a hail of shots, knocking a tall, rotten tree over and sending it slamming into the last remaining NVA engineer.
"Piranha-3, Alpha-1. We've spotted a large enemy force holding positions in trenches above us. Requesting gunnery support on infantry surrounding trenches, over."
"We can't see them. Too much foliage cover, over."
"OK. Watch for a red flare. We're gonna light them up for ya." A brief second later, and the light from a red signal flare burst through the dense jungle. Instantly, the front gunner tracked his turret round to face the target, and let loose a hail of shots towards the now-visible target. Davidson hoped that the sheer weight of fire was going to do some good on the ground.
* * *
"Hostiles are falling back! The .30 cal's working!"
"YES! Dwyer, head up that spur, try to get some RPG fire on those guys. Sharps, scrounge what you can from Keegan, then hit their flank. There's a pathway towards the right of the trenches." Donalds moved quickly, scrambling up the gulley with a primed grenade in his left hand. Tossing the frag grenade like a baseball, Donalds ducked as the explosion shredded most of the cover around the NVA trenches, exposing a napalm-burnt cliff-face above the battleground.
"Why the hell didn't Central Command tell us about them hitting this part of the hill with some god-damned napalm? We sure could do with some more of that!" Sharps' voice sounded angry, a rare break in his calm exterior.
"Yeah, and get us all killed 'cos of a lack of cover. Keep moving!" Donalds paused in his ascent as a hail of .30 cal tracers slid through the air, slamming into the trenches just metres away from him. "Piranha-3, support successful. Hold your fire!"
"Holding back, but we've got snipers targeting our engine block. If we do fire, we'll try to miss you guys, ok?"
"Roger. Sharps, get moving! Dwyer, RPG that f***ing MG!."
"Sharps to Donalds, moving now. There's another trench to my right, they've got Baker suppressed, and Cougar can't land to support them!"
"Don't engage! We'll try and bring Cougar up with the M2, burn 'em out from behind." The RPG from Dwyer's launcher slammed into the wall of the trench, shrapnel catching several NVA gunners around the impact. Donalds vaulted over the sandbags, dropping to the ground and spraying the trench, wasting a full magazine firing at ghosts. "Trench clear!" Sharps jumped down from the path, taking up a firing position to engage any counter attacks.
"We need to bring up Cougar and cut these bastards off."
"I hear ya! Cougar-1, this is Alpha-1. Left trench section secure, requesting that Cougar lands and helps to secure the rest of the line, over."
"Cougar-1 copies. We're moving in now." Four figures moved up from the edge of the river, clutching the heavy weapons that the SEALs needed. Gunfire from the team's M60 ripped through the trees, dropping a trio of NVA soldiers as they stood to hurl a demolition charge.
"Get moving! We have to get those trenches clear!" Alpha squad moved quickly, covering each other as they moved through the trenches.
"Sarge! Cave, 2 o'clock!"
"I see them. Hells, the NVA's dug in like rocks on this cursed hill."
"Cougar-1 to Alpha-1. Entering trenches. What's the plan?"
"Keep killing our way up this mountain 'till there's nothing left to kill. Alpha moves up and clears those tunnels, Cougar takes out Charlie in the trenches. Sound good?"
"Aye. God speed." With that last word, SSgt. Dempsey moved up his squad, covering the trenches with his weapon while the squad's M2 gunner moved up. Napalm shot out of the barrel, igniting and covering several NVA soldiers in it's deadly flame. Sharps tapped Donalds on the shoulder.
"Let's go." The trio crept into the cave, watching all the time for trip-wires and mines. Dwyer quickly scrambled up a rock face at the back of the cave, signalling with his hand his findings. Exit.
* * *
"Cougar-1 to Baker-1, cleared to move up. Pirahnas, stay on our tails and provide fire support at will. All units, go for stage 2."
Chapter 2 - Hillside
"MOVE! GRENADE!" Dwyer dived out of the tunnel, avoiding the grenade's lethal explosion by a few short seconds. Sharps and Donalds hit the sides of the tunnel, shrapnel whizzing past them. The duo pressed forward covering the metres to the end of the tunnel in a few short seconds. Both Baker and Cougar squads were pinned down by MGs to their fronts. Alpha's side. Donalds signalled to his team. MGs. Nail them.
Dwyer loaded another RPG into his launcher, sighting along the barrel at the RPK. "Last shot!" he shouted, as the rocket flew towards the target. Wood and limbs scattered over the trenches as the shot hit home, and the machine gun fire let up. Donalds moved up into a crater, patches still burning from US napalm strikes. Sharps joined him, pumping rounds at the NVA from his grenade launcher.
"We need to take those trenches ASAP sarge. Objective's up ahead."
"OK. Plan of action, corporal?"
"If we get beyond that shallow at 1 o'clock, and into that crater, I think we can take out the RPKs with a flank move." Sharps pointed to a large crater just in front of the trench. "Perfect defilade from the MGs."
"It's risky, but possible. Dwyer, covering fire, then move up and hold our flank. Sharps, lead the way." The squad moved quickly, Dwyer firing his Thompson from the hip to suppress the NVA in the burnt trenches. Donalds hurled a grenade at the trench, ducking as it exploded. Tracer fire ripped overhead, slamming into the crater where they were just seconds ago. Drawing his pistol, Donalds dived forward, carshing into the trench and crushing a frail-looking NVA captain. Sharps joined him, chucking his M79 away as he brought to bear his M14, firing on full-auto. Dwyer ran towards them, grenades in hand. Tracers followed his every movement, zigzagging across the charred landscape. A single shot grazed his left heel, bringing him crashing down.
"Fuck! I'm hit!" Donalds pulled the wounded SEAL in as a familiar noise shounded over the gunfire, Sharps applying a bandage to the wound.
"Hueys! Get on the radio," shouted Sharps. "We need fire support ASAP!"
"Roger. UH-1 squadron, requesting fire support on marked target, over."
"Huey squadron to ground, we copy. One pass only, we need to get our passengers on the ground quickly."
"Ok. Target is marked by red flare. Do your work." Donalds switched the radio off and threw his last remaining signal flare at a trench several metres away.
"Hueys 4 & 5 are en route, keep your heads down!" A pair of Hueys roared overhead, rockets and machine guns firing at the trenches. But then...
"RPG! Three o'clock!" Donalds' warning came too late. A golden streak erupted from the left of the lead Huey, smashing into it's tail rotor and sending the helo spinning into a hut at the top of the hill, wood and thatch exploding outwards. The second Huey gunned the RPG gunner down with it's side M60, circling the crash site, looking for survivors. Donalds knew that they needed to reach the Huey above all else. Above even the objective. "Sharps, Dwyer, let's go!"